WAWA >> Coffee and beverage customers in some Wawa stores across its geographic footprint have seen a return to self-service coffee and fountain beverages.
The roll-out began last week in a limited number of stores. So far, about 60 locations have begun offering the self-service beverages.
Although Wawa is not giving out specific locations, the company said some of the stores are located in the Reading, Berks County market, as well as stores in South Jersey “near or in Cape May County,” as well as Virginia and Maryland.
The company said additional stores will resume self-service beverage in the coming weeks, taking into consideration guidelines set forth by state and local Departments of Health.
Resuming some self-serve beverages will “improve convenience and speed during store visits, enabling customers to get in and out faster to maximize social distancing,” the company said in an emailed statement.
The Delaware County-based Wawa halted self-service beverages March 20, in response to the spread of the coronavirus across the country. At the time, it shifted its model to having coffee served by employees and suspended all self-service fountain beverages, Icee drinks, cappuccino and iced coffee.
As self-service coffee returns to stores, customers will still have the option for full-service coffee poured and prepared by a Wawa associate, if they prefer.
A spokeswoman for the convenience chain said that throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the company has enhanced its safety measures including: in-store precautions for employees and customers, as well as cleaning and sanitizing.
Some of the measures that have been implemented over the past couple of months include:
• The presence of the “Wawa Clean Force,” in-store, associates dedicated to continuous cleaning tasks above and beyond Wawa’s protocols
• Social distancing markers to enable customers to maintain a safe distance in the beverage area and throughout the store
• Wrapped stirrers
• Tissue paper for customer use with the pour handle
Specific details about the company’s response to the coronavirus is shared on its website.
In addition to social distancing markers in stores, clear plastic shields were added at check-out counters and at the coffee and foodservice counters. Additional cleaning and sanitizing procedures include the availability of hand sanitizer in common areas for customer use.
Under a heading of “safe behaviors” in the online information, the company states it started health checks at the start of all shifts for employees — including temperature checks — and supplied masks to all associates, among other steps.
The company has also provided educational information to customers, including digital signage and audio messages in stores to support safety and social distancing. In addition, 250,000 Red Cross tips sheets were distributed in stores, with health and safety tops to limit the spread of any virus or infection.
“Driven by our core purpose of fulfilling lives, we have learned so many valuable lessons about safety and service in the last months during one of the most challenging time we have experienced in our history. We were far from perfect but we adapted and changed quickly along the way,” Chris Gheysens, president and CEO of Wawa, said about the company’s response in a statement on the website.
So far, customer feedback on the return of self-service beverages and Wawa’s enhanced safety measures has been positive, according to the emailed statement. Additional feedback from customers and employees will be used to influence the reintroduction of self-service beverages at additional stores.
For more information about Wawa’s response to COVID-19 visit https://www.wawa.com/alerts/covid-19-safety-readiness
Wawa operates nearly 900 convenience retail stores in six states including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida, as well as Washington, D.C., and employs 36,000.